Friday February 22, 2013
When every heartbeat is a miracle
By ISABELLE LAI
PETALING JAYA: Fifteen years after receiving a new heart, Albert Gunaratnam remains profoundly grateful to the stranger who gave him a new lease on life.
Without it, he would have lost the chance to see his children graduate, walk his daughter down the aisle and see the births of his four grandchildren.
“Every beat of my heart is a miracle to me.
“It is somebody’s heart pumping in me, giving me the precious gift of life so I can see my grandchildren grow up,” he told The Star.
Now 65, Albert is the longest surviving heart transplant patient in Malaysia after he underwent surgery on April 10, 1998.
He said he had never taken his new heart for granted and continues to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Albert recalled the pain and fear he experienced after suffering a massive heart attack in 1996, which destroyed his heart muscles and led to eventual heart failure.
In fact, his heart condition declined so much that he had a faint and erratic heart beat and was so weak he was unable to lift a toothbrush.
“The donation was nothing short of a miracle.
“Doctors gave me six months to live if I could not find a matching heart.
“My chances were so slim because of my AB+ blood type but I never lost faith in God,” he said.
He urged those needing a transplant to be fearless and undergo the operation if they received the chance.
He also advised people not to fear organ donation, saying it did not mean leaving the body incomplete.
“Instead, it helps you or your loved one to live on in others, giving so many a new chance at life,” he said.